Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mistaken identity victim killed in Texas as result of new Castle Doctrine law

Dave Catanese of KY3 Political Blog spotted a New York Times article concerning the mistaken identity shooting death of a Texas rock musician a few days after the state's new Castle Doctrine (Frontier Justice) law went into effect.

And while it definitely appears the musician was out of line with his pounding on the man's door, the man's first step was not to call 911, but to fire through the door and kill the musician.

Missouri's Castle Doctrine law went into effect Aug. 28, thanks to the efforts to Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, and Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, to steer the legislation through the General Assembly.

I will leave the comment section open for those who buy into each new piece of legislation the National Rifle Association says is necessary for our safety. Most of the time these "absolutely necessary" laws are simply tactics used by NRA leaders to keep the dues flowing. I am sure some other bill will come before legislatures across the country next year or in 2009.


cbrtxus said...

Referring to someone attempting to break into the house at 4:00 a.m. as a “mistaken identity victim” is a gross misrepresentation.

The homeowner and his wife were asleep in their own home when the musician attempted to break in. They were the victims.

The husband went to the door to try keep the intruder out while the wife called 911. His wife was on the phone with the police when the shot was fired.

The homeowner shouted at the musician to go away. He didn’t. The homeowner attempted to fire a warning shot through the top of the door. Unfortunately the musician was unusually tall and must have been very close to the door when the shot was fired.

The homeowner had good reason to be frightened. I don't think that he would have been charged before the Castle Doctrine went into effect. Texas law did not attempt to completely guarantee the safety of intruders (especially at night). The new law might shield the homeowner from a civil action after the fact--which is good.

It is a tragedy for everyone involved. But the fault lies with the musician--not with the homeowner. Don’t break into occupied homes in Texas and you won’t have to worry about Texas “frontier justice.”

Anonymous said...

Since when was pounding on the door to wake someone up "breaking in"????

Anonymous said...

Who was it that killed her? I can't believe I can't remember his name.

Anonymous said...

Lets set aside for the moment the issue of the justification of shooting through your door at someone who allegedly was hallucinating from a combination of anti-somking medication and alcohol, who had just assaulted his girlfriend, and who is now pounding and kicking on your door at 4:00 a.m.

I am confused as to where Randy got the notion that this person was killed “as a result of new castle doctrine law.”

I have read the article several times and I do not see where the shooter said he shot the person because of the “castle doctrine” law or that he was even aware that such a law was created.

Randy, other then your prejudice and desire to score propaganda points, what makes you think this case really has anything to do with the castle doctrine?

Depending on ones oddball politics the headline could just as easily have been spun as: “man killed as a result of anti-somking medication” or “man killed as a result of rock music lifestyle” or “man killed as a result of being freakishly tall” or maybe even “man killed as a result of being an abusive drunk jerk.”

Randy said...

The Castle Doctrine will make it that much more difficult to convict someone who kills someone simply because he or she is afraid. It is going to be a nightmare for authorities in cases like these. And this incident did take place shortly after the law went into effect and if it received as much publicity in Texas as it did in Missouri, the shooter would likely have been aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Randy, On August 16, 2007 you wrote: “the Globe explains that now homeowners can stop fearing for their lives because they can defend themselves if they fear for their lives...something they have always been able to do.”

And on July 2, 2007, you wrote: “People have always had the right to defend themselves if they believe their lives are in danger.”

On May 28, 2007, you wrote: “Missourians already have the right to protect themselves under the current law, so why was this legislation necessary?”

On May 7, 2007, you wrote: “The so-called Castle Doctrine bill (Frontier Justice is a more accurate description) is an unnecessary waste of time. Missourians have always had the right to protect themselves and use deadly force if necessary.”

Now, you are arguing that the law has created a “nightmare for authorities.” This argument supposes that the law has changed something, which you have stated on numerous occasions (as cited above) that it has not. So, which is it? Has the law created some new right for us or is or not?

You have never bothered quoting the language of the law, so in case you do not know what it is here it is: “A person may not use deadly force upon another person . . . unless he reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself or another against death, serious physical injury, rape, sodomy or kidnaping or serious physical injury through robbery, burglary or arson.”

The only place I have read that the law creates a right to shoot anyone that wonders onto our property has come from folks, like you, who opposed the law. So, really if someone thinks they have that right then I would say people like you are responsible for putting that idea into their heads with your irresponsible hyperbole.

Bottom line, you have no idea what happened that night or what the shooter knew, thought or felt but that will not stop you jumping to a conclusion that fits with political views . . . that’s called prejudice not reporting.

Randy said...

I remind you that this site offers nwes AND COMMENTARY. Most readers can tell the difference. I read this news article, offered a link to it and commented on it. Feel free to disagree if you wish, but this post offered information and commentary about that information.

Anonymous said...

Good spin but your headline states that the person killed was killed “as a result of the new castle doctrine law.”

That sounds to me like you are stating a fact, if so then back it up.

Anonymous said...

This may be a little off track, but why would a person feel the need to shoot at someone knocking on his door at 4:00 a.m. without first looking through the peephole that most doors have nowdays to see who it was that he was shooting at?

I've had a policeman knock on my door and wake me up at 5 a.m., I think it was, to leave a message from my mother that my grandmother died. What if he'd shot a policeman instead?

Mostly though I can't help but wonder if his reason to shoot through a closed door without looking was a little more...umm, criminal in character from the get-go. You guys supporting him might want to reconsider. He might not be the good ole boy you imagine him to be.

Anonymous said...

Well, imagination is a wonderful thing but so is taking the time to read the article you are committing on.

I would imagine that the policeman who came to your door was not “pounding and kicking at [your] back door” and had not “just assaulted his girlfriend, who lives next door.”

Still, you may be right, maybe the shooter was a criminal mastermind, who caused the victim to have “hallucinatory dreams” by pouring a combination of alcohol and an anti-smoking medication down his throat, then caused the victim to assault his girlfriend, then caused the girlfriend to lock the victim out of his house, then cause the drunken victim to come to his backdoor and start kicking it, then, knowing that the “frontier justice” act had been signed into law, was able to legally shoot the “mistaken identity” victim dead.

The more I think about it the more I think you are on to something Mr. 1:26.

Anonymous said...

And here I was thinking something mundane such as gambling debts and running numbers.

You put me to shame.

km said...

The guy was not just knocking he was pounding on the door and trying to KICK the door in according to the local news reports that covered the incident. Also the guy was heavily drunk.

This is why the guy that fired the gun was not taken to jail.

The New York Times makes up the news. They don't research it.

Anonymous said...

What part of "He shot through a closed door" do you people not understand? This is going to provide cover for more murder. Its extremely ironic that it comes from the "life is priceless/law and order" crowd.

Anonymous said...

Look, as I noted above, Randy has long said that this law has changed NOTHING and that people have ALWAYS had the right to claim self-defense. So, it rings a little hollow when you people now claim that the law makes it easer to murder when your are saying at the same time that it has changed nothing.

Besides, it suggests a certain lack of common sense and legal knowledge to argue that it is easy to claim self-defense. First of all, the defense is an affirmative one. In other words, to claim the defense you have to admit to killing someone (Thus satisfying the State’s burden of proof on that issue). So, having admitted to killing someone, the legal burden shifts to you to prove to 12 people on a jury that you were justified in the shooting. Those 12 people know that the other person is dead and can’t tell his side of the story and they are most likely going to suspect that the killer’s story is self-serving. So, a self-defense argument has some though legal and practical hurdles to get over.

Now, I do not endorse shooting through doors as a general rule, but on the other hand this is not the case you want to spin. You people seem to think this is a case of someone innocently walking up to the front door to the shooters house in the afternoon and knocking politely then getting shot in the head. However the facts, from the story, are as follows:

The “victim” was DRUNK and on some kind of medication
The “victim” had just ASSAULTED his girlfriend
The “victim” went to the neighbors BACK door
The “victim” was pounding and KICKING the door
It was 4:00 in the MORNING

Now, was it reasonable to be frighted that a lunatic was trying to break into your house and do God knows what to you under those circumstances? I guess that’s for the jury to decide.

cbrtxus said...

Obviously, the musician wasn't killed "as a result of new Castle Doctrine law." He was killed because he was beating and kicking on his neighbor's door at 4:00 a.m.

I doubt very seriously that this will even go to the Grand Jury. If he is indicted, it is unlikely that any Texas jury would convict him given the circumstances. The only thing that the Castle Doctrine might do is keep him from being sued by the musician's family.

Who knows how any of us would react under those circumstances so I am not criticizing the homeowner. Under those conditions I don't mind saying that I would have been concerned for my own safety and the safety of my loved ones.

The homeowner shouted for him to go away and attempted to fire a warning shot over the musician's head. Sadly, the musician was unusually tall and must have been very near the door.

The such a warning shot isn't a good idea. There is a small chance that the bullet could injure an innocent person. Firing it into something that will capture the bullet would be better.

If someone starts coming through the door then you have no choice but to use deadly force. You cannot gamble your life and the lives of your family that he really means no harm.

Anonymous said...

Justifying killing another human being for beating on a door. You guys are really something.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we are not the ones trying to score political points off of a man’s death. It is you anti-castle doctrine types who seem giddy over his death because you think it gives you the opportunity to assert that the law caused the shooting (even though nothing in the story suggests that the shooter knew the law even existed).

Could the shooter have made a better choice, sure, but try waking up at 4:00 a.m. to your wife’s screams and the sounds of what you think is someone breaking into your house and see how cooly you can weigh your options under those circumstances.

Anonymous said...

"The Castle Doctrine will make it that much more difficult to convict someone who kills someone simply because he or she is afraid."

No, it will not.
C.D. laws only change the legal definition of 'justified use of deadly force' in certain settings and situations. It is still clearly defined, just as before.

If investigators and prosecutors cannot adapt to changes in use-of-force laws, then they cannot adapt to changes in any other law, and we must stop changing anything about any of our laws.

Missouri's C.D. law says that we no longer have to try to flee our aggressors if we are attacked in our homes or vehicles. Nothing more.

Anonymous said...

If you're dead you can't talk. There are people who will find that quite convenient.

Anonymous said...

So, I guess your position is in opposition to the concept of self-defense altogether since your argument would apply to every self-defense claim case.